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Protesters outrage over police shooting at Israeli Arab

JERUSALEM, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Some 5,000 Arabs took to the streets of Arab village Kafr Kanain in northern Israel on Saturday night, in protest against the police shooting of 22-year-old Israeli Arab villager Khair al-Din Rouf Hamdan in the early hours of Saturday. Dozens of protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, waving Palestinian flags and burning tires and Israeli flags at a highway junction near the village. A large police force took position several hundred meters from the junction and arrested some stone-throwers.

Police said Hamdan was shot dead after he attacked a police car with a knife. The police officers tried to stop the man by firing in the air, but Hamdan didn't stop. With their lives in danger, the policemen then shot at him.

However, video footage obtained by Israeli media does not show police firing a warning shot in the air first. In the video, the youth is seen approaching the car and stabbing at it with what looks like a knife, and several policemen is seen getting out of the car. The youth is then seen running away from the vehicle, but officers shoot at the youth.

Hamdan was hit in the upper body and later succumbed to his wounds in hospital.

Authorities are now investigating whether police violated protocol on opening fire and their conduct after the shooting, which was caught on video.

The police's open-fire regulations dictate they must take several steps before opening fire to kill. First they must give prior warning, shoot into the air, and shoot towards the subject's feet. Only after these three stages have been taken may they take aim at the subject's upper body.

The footage also shows policemen dragging the youth to the police car instead of calling an ambulance and treating him on the scene.

Arab community leaders in Israel have called for a general strike on Sunday.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed police with saying Israel "won't tolerate disturbances and riots."

"We will take action against stone throwers, those who block traffic arteries and those who call for establishing a Palestinian state in place of the State of Israel", he said in a statement, adding that "whoever doesn't respect Israeli law will be punished to the fullest extent."

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